Stands for Thread Cones and Spools

QuiltNotes Learning Center

Last Updated March 20, 2018

Today we have a wide variety of sewing and embroidery threads available. Coupled with the thread variety is the way threads are packaged for use. The spool pin on sewing machines will not accommodate these larger products, so in these cases,  stands for thread cones and spools are needed.

Many threads come in economical cones with 3,000 yards or more. Some come in smaller cones or in larger spools.

This is my favorite thread stand called the Sara Coneflower Thread Stand. It is crafted by metal artisan, Paul Boyum. No, I don’t need an artisan thread stand but it makes me smile each time I see it. And since I use it every time I sew, I smile a lot.

As an example, a variety of thread cones and spools is shown below. Click on the image to see more information on these and other threads.

Various Threads

Stands For Thread Cones and Spools

You can use a thread stand, sometimes called a thread holder, to solve the problem of the different spool and cone sizes.

diagram of thread stands for spools and cones


The basic design of a thread stand consists of these elements: a base that holds everything, a spool pin to stabilize the thread cone or spool, and a thread guide.

The thread stand is placed behind the sewing machine near the right side.



Now let’s take a look at each part of the thread stand.


The base can be any shape but typically it is round. The weighted base in some thread stands keep the stand from moving or tipping over. The base is metal, wood or plastic material.

Spool Pin

The spool pin is located in the center of the base. It holds the cone or spool in place. Some thread stands might include an adapter to help stabilize the cone. The picture below shows two spool pins. The one on the left has a cone adapter.

thread stand cone adapter

Thread Guide

The thread guide is important because it allows the thread to flow smoothly off the cone. The video below shows  how to correctly position the thread guide.

Using the Thread Stand

Place the cone on the spool pin. The thread goes through the stand thread guide first. Next, the thread goes through the first thread guide on the sewing machine. Threading continues as usual for your machine.

Thread Stand Choices

Thread stands are widely available. Additionally, there are countless ways to make your own. Here are a few to check out.

sara coneflower thread standSara Coneflower Thread Stand

This thread stand is my favorite. It is heavy and sturdy because it’s made from metal. The spool pin holds up to 3000 yard cones. The other pin is curved and holds extra cones or bobbins.

Here is a picture of my Sara Coneflower thread stand peeking from behind my machine.

sara coneflower thread stand

Cast Iron Cone Thread Stand

Cast Iron Cone Thread Stand
from: Annie’s

This is a good thread stand with a cast iron base for stability. Perfect for traveling to class or retreat. I have used several of these over the years. Because the metal base is more stable, I recommend it over those with plastic bases.


All things considered, stands for thread cones and spools are simple solutions to what seems to be a simple problem. But it’s a big problem if you can’t use the new thread you just bought. Sooner or later you will need some way to sew with a thread that doesn’t fit on your sewing machine spool pin. And finally, the internet is full of simple solutions using paper clips and coffee mugs. You can try one of those methods in a pinch or you can have one on hand.

Related Article – Sewing Machine Parts: What are They Called and What Do They Do?

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